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broccoli is a cruciferous-vegetable

Why Should I Eat Cruciferous Vegetables?

  blog post author icon   blog post published date icon   11/29/21

Cooking  Disease  Nutrition  

If you are interested in eating healthier, one easy way to do this is by adding cruciferous vegetables to your daily meal plan. Cruciferous vegetables' benefits are many, and this article will outline a few of them to get you motivated and inspired to include this humble vegetable category in your diet.

  • Blog Post

    In a survey conducted in early 2021, 65% of Americans are open to making a change to their eating schedule, while 38% would consider moving to a vegan or vegetarian diet to lose weight! This has to do a lot with the fact that Americans are becoming more and more desperate to lose weight, become fit, and gain a healthier lifestyle. The pandemic has magnified this even more.

    What Are Cruciferous Vegetables?

    Let's first clarify what exactly are cruciferous vegetables. A bit of background history - cruciferous vegetables were named so because their blossoms resemble a cross or crucifix

    Any edible members of the cabbage family are labeled cruciferous. Many common vegetables belong to the cabbage family, i.e., the family Brassicaceae (also called Cruciferae). 

    Cruciferous Vegetables' List

    The following vegetables fall into this cruciferous vegetable category, like:

    • Broccoli
    • Cauliflower
    • Cabbage
    • Arugula
    • Kale
    • Bokchoy
    • Radish
    • Turnips
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Collard Greens
    • Horseradish
    • Watercress
    • Wasabi
    • Rutabaga

    Haven't heard of some of these vegetables? Well, what are you waiting for? Once you read all the benefits of consuming cruciferous vegetables below, you will be hankering to get some of these delicious and healthy vegetables into your daily meal rotation.

    Cruciferous Vegetables' Benefits

    There are many benefits to adding cruciferous vegetables to your diet, and so let's get started.

    Fiber Rich and Low in Calories

    One reason why nutritionists, dieticians, and doctors the world over are always recommending you add more cruciferous vegetables into your diet is that they are HIGH in fiber and low in calories. This means they are filling! Now, why would that matter to someone who's dieting or trying to lose weight?

    Well, one key point when it comes to losing weight is reducing your food intake (affecting energy balance) so that your energy input (that is, the calories you take in) is lower than your energy output (that is, your activity level and basal metabolic rate). One way people do this is by exercising. They add a lot of additional activity into their day by taking the stairs, walking, dancing, weight lifting, and more.

    But there's another way to do this as well. By adding lots of fiber-rich cruciferous vegetables into your diet, you can feel fuller longer, and eat less. When you eat lots of crunchy broccoli or kale, you notice that you get full much quicker than when you consume a plate of pasta or rice.

    This is great because not only are you eating fewer calories overall, but because these vegetables are low in fat and calories, you end up consuming fewer total calories as well. It's the double whammy effect.

    Rich in Nutrients Like Vitamins and Minerals and More

    Way too many folks are walking around in a state of malnutrition. It's not that they aren't getting enough food into their system, it's that due to overfarming, industrialization, pollution, and other factors, the food we are consuming doesn't have enough nutrients in it. It's not the same as the food our ancestors used to eat.

    This means that you need to consume even more nutritious cruciferous vegetables to tip the balance in your favor. The great thing about these vegetables is that they are packed with so much goodness. 

    • rich in folate necessary for red blood cell formation and healthy cell growth and function
    • rich in vitamins C needed to form blood vessels, cartilage, muscle, and collagen in bones and for the healing process
    • rich in vitamin E necessary for vision, reproduction, and the health of your blood, brain, and skin
    • rich in vitamin K needed for blood clotting and healthy bones
    • rich in minerals needed to keep bones, muscles, heart, and brain working properly and for making enzymes and hormones
    • rich in fiber for proper digestion and weight loss (as mentioned in the section above)
    • rich in carotenoids, like beta-carotenoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, necessary to protect you from disease and enhance your immune system, and eye health

    As you can see there are many benefits to eating more cruciferous vegetables not only for adults trying to lose weight but for everyone in the family. If your children are wary of eating broccoli or cabbage, take time to prepare recipes that are delicious so you can improve your children's health without them being aware of their vegetable-eating habits.

    Anti-Cancer Effects

    One reason why scientists and researchers are constantly recommending cruciferous vegetables as the panacea of modern diets is that these vegetables have been found to inhibit the development and growth of cancer in several organs of rats and mice, including the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, and stomach.

    This is because they are rich in glucosinolates, which break down during cooking into biologically active compounds such as indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanate. These chemical compounds have been most frequently examined for their anti-cancer effects. 

    Considering that cancer is one of those illnesses that has become pervasive in the American population, anything that you could use to counteract the development of such a dangerous disease would be extremely helpful. Especially if it's as simple as adding a few cooked cruciferous vegetables to your diet.

    These are some ways these compounds help protect animal cells from cancer:

    • have anti-inflammatory effects
    • help protect cells from DNA damage
    • have antiviral and antibacterial effects
    • induce cell death (apoptosis)
    • help inactivate carcinogens.
    • inhibit tumor blood vessel formation and tumor cell migration.
    • and more

    There have been lots of studies done on rats and mice regarding the positive effects of cruciferous vegetables, BUT, the studies on humans aren't as definitive. More research is needed.

    Until that point though, it's a great idea to add more cruciferous vegetables to your diet and become an advocate for your cell health from the inside out. The movement to use 'food as medicine' is prevalent in American society right now and one major weapon humans have against disease is green leafy and cruciferous vegetables.

    Try Cruciferous Vegetables' Supplements

    You can never go wrong when you add more vegetables to your diet. But what if you are overwhelmed by all the different healthy things you need to consume in a day for all that your body needs.

    Also, as mentioned previously, nowadays, vegetables, fruits, and meats aren't as concentrated with nutritious components as they were in the past. There are many reasons for it, but the main concern you might have as a healthy eater is how many of these cruciferous vegetables you would have to consume to get the positive benefits mentioned above.

    Can you eat 2.5 cups of vegetables every single day as recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? Sometimes life takes over and you aren't able to fulfill this requirement as needed. What then?

    That's where cruciferous vegetables' supplements come into play. With these, you don't have to worry about missing out on the proper amounts of vegetable intake every day. You can have cheat days where you spend your entire day eating chips, salsa, and cheese because you are celebrating a birthday, a promotion, or just resting and relaxing.

    Any healthy eating plan for weight loss needs a balanced regimen of supplements as well. Nowadays, you can't do without it. 

    This doesn't mean that you can completely eschew eating cruciferous vegetables and other healthy items, of course. But it does mean that you have less pressure on you about eating healthy every day, especially since you are running from work to daycare, to home, to other activities and chores. 

    When would you even have time to fit in some of these chores, like meal planning, cooking, grocery shopping, and eating? Sometimes it's enough that you pop a supplement and take care of your bodies' needs that way. You are not a superwoman and with these supplements in hand, you don't need to be. 

    Are You Ready to Up the Ante on Your Diet and Health?

    Cruciferous vegetables' benefits as outlined above indicate that they are a necessary and almost unmissable part of the diet of anyone who's looking to become healthier, live longer, and lose weight. If you haven't already added cruciferous vegetables to your diet, it's time for you to change the status quo.

    If you are the main cook of the family, you have a lot of power over the future health and habits of your family, especially your children. Cruciferous vegetables are easy to cook, and with a little bit of creativity and innovation, you can make even the most fastidious child love their broccoli. 

    Searching for a little extra help with your weight loss goals? Check out the FirstFitness Nutritional supplements catalog and use the latest innovations in science and research to achieve your wellness goals.

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